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Cliff Peiffer




Location: Australia
Joined: 13 Jul 2013

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 13 Jul, 2013 9:14 pm    Post subject: 16th century Indo Persian Helmet         Reply with quote

Greeting members, I have located what appears to be an old Indo Persian war helmet and require your assistance on authenticating, dating and valuing this item. The owner, who claims he is an expert in the field has offered to guarantee the authenticity and claims the helmet is a "16th Century Indo Persion War Helmet with Gold Inlay". I do not believe the helmet is Islamic as there are elephant and lion motifs on the bottom rim.

I would appreciate any feedback or assistance on possibly authenticating the 16th century age and what possible value is the helmet. Regards Cliff



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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Jul, 2013 1:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm no expert, but a butted mail aventail (what this helmet appears to have) usually means that it is from the 19th century. Considering the story spun, i assume the helmet is being sold for quite a bit of money hinging on it's disputed provenance? I wouldn't risk it unless an independent expert actually vettes it or you are comfortable purchasing a 19th century indian helmet rather than a 16th century middle eastern piece (hopefully at the price of the former and not the latter).

[edit]
It could also be a more modern "antique" made in india to be exported as a "19th century indian helmet". on second look the engraving looks rather crude in places and there is a lot of active rust on the piece. I reiterate, avoid or vette.
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Isak Krogh




Location: Sweden
Joined: 07 Feb 2012

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sun 14 Jul, 2013 2:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

looks like a mughal helmet and butted maille is as far as I know typical for this type of helmet!
I'm not an expert, but know someone who is. I will ask her what she thinks!
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Isak Krogh




Location: Sweden
Joined: 07 Feb 2012

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sun 14 Jul, 2013 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is what she thinks!
Quote:
It is hard to tell, the pictures are a bit fuzzy, but the decorations looks very Indian although not amazing work its ok, can't tell how extensive the gilding is or if it is proper Koftgari? But the nasal is wrong, it has to be able to slide up and down and it has no top and no nut and bolt to keep it up or down. Can't tell about the maile apart from that the pattern is believable. Shape seems a bit suspicious, their camails tended to be longer with dagged ends to fasten at the front. It's in a bit of a crap state (obviously) but I think it's been messed around a bit! Either that or it could be a 19th century piece for European display? also, all the helmets i have seen are topped with a spike which this one does not have. it might just be a stylistic choice i have not come across but it does seem a little off...
[/quote]
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Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Sun 14 Jul, 2013 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Similarly, not an expert, but totally agree with the previous poster - regard with suspicion. If it were me, and I found a helmet in an antique shop which was claimed to be 16thC, I would be very skeptical.

My first impression was that it was an above average tourist/decorator piece probably not more than 50 years old.

Regardless of what the owner says, I would have my doubts its an antique and, based on that, that they are an expert at all. If he can guarantee the authenticity then perhaps he can provide a provenance? I would be surprised if the ownership could be traced back very far at all.
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sun 14 Jul, 2013 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd argue that the depth of the etching is one of the most tell-tale signs that it is at least from the 19th century, if not the 20th. As far as I'm aware, the etching done on helmets in the 16th century, particularly those meant to be useful, was done very close to the surface both due to technological restrictions and the maintenance of the metal's integrity.

-Gregory
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 15 Jul, 2013 3:58 pm    Post subject: Re: 16th century Indo Persian Helmet         Reply with quote

Cliff Peiffer wrote:
The owner, who claims he is an expert in the field has offered to guarantee the authenticity and claims the helmet is a "16th Century Indo Persion War Helmet with Gold Inlay". I do not believe the helmet is Islamic as there are elephant and lion motifs on the bottom rim.

Cliff, "Indo-Persian" does not necessarily mean "Islamic", as there are many different religions in the related areas. The presence of elephants and or lions just as well could me Islamic as Mughal India was an Islamic culture. The presence of a butted mail camail / aventail means nothing as these items can easily be installed on older helmets that originally had riveted mail ones. Take a look at the workmanship compared to known examples and ask yourself how does the one you are asking about compare. Here is a link were you can see some more examples.

http://pinterest.com/samuraiantiques/indo-persian-armor/

Persian kulah khud (helmet), 18th century, steel bowl with long butted mail camail / aventail (neck guard), decorated with Qur'anic verses in gold as well as mentioning God, Metropolitan Museum.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Jul, 2013 2:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know how well Mughals practiced Islamic law, but Cliff is right that if the helmet is Islamic, there should be no animals as decoration on it...
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Tue 16 Jul, 2013 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
I don't know how well Mughals practiced Islamic law, but Cliff is right that if the helmet is Islamic, there should be no animals as decoration on it...

Luka, as far as I am concerned there are Ottomen helmets, Persian helmets, Indian helmets etc. The term Indo-Persian is usually used when the particular country or culture of origin can not be determined, "Islamic" is a rather old fashioned term, I do not hear it being used much any more. Were did you hear that in the Islamic religion no likeness of animals were used for decoration of armor?


Quote:
Apart from floral and animal motifs, a dominant part of Islamic iconography on arms and armor is confined to calligraphy. Although the representation of (sacred) figures is not strictly forbidden in the Qur'an, images as objects of devotion were avoided in Islamic art from its very beginning. Islamic artists relied instead on the words of the Prophet Muhammad to inspire and to give literal shape to their designs. As a result, calligraphy in Islamic lands developed into a fine art, becoming in the process the principal form of religious ornament. Thus, Islamic arms and armor were often decorated with a wide variety of Qur'anic passages and pious invocations, which functioned as expressions of piety, as powerful defenses in the form of talismans, or simply as visually pleasing ornament.


Mughal Empire (1500s, 1600s)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam...re_1.shtml

Quote:
Introduction:The Mughal Empire. The Mughal (or Mogul) Empire ruled most of India and Pakistan in the 16th and 17th centuries. It consolidated Islam in South Asia, and spread Muslim (and particularly Persian) arts and culture as well as the faith. The Mughals were Muslims who ruled a country with a large Hindu majority. However for much of their empire they allowed Hindus to reach senior government or military positions.


Human and Animal imagery in Islamic art?
http://ask.metafilter.com/24573/Human-and-Ani...slamic-art
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,229

PostPosted: Tue 16 Jul, 2013 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric S wrote:
Luka Borscak wrote:
I don't know how well Mughals practiced Islamic law, but Cliff is right that if the helmet is Islamic, there should be no animals as decoration on it...

Luka, as far as I am concerned there are Ottomen helmets, Persian helmets, Indian helmets etc. The term Indo-Persian is usually used when the particular country or culture of origin can not be determined, "Islamic" is a rather old fashioned term, I do not hear it being used much any more. Were did you hear that in the Islamic religion no likeness of animals were used for decoration of armor?


Quote:
Apart from floral and animal motifs, a dominant part of Islamic iconography on arms and armor is confined to calligraphy. Although the representation of (sacred) figures is not strictly forbidden in the Qur'an, images as objects of devotion were avoided in Islamic art from its very beginning. Islamic artists relied instead on the words of the Prophet Muhammad to inspire and to give literal shape to their designs. As a result, calligraphy in Islamic lands developed into a fine art, becoming in the process the principal form of religious ornament. Thus, Islamic arms and armor were often decorated with a wide variety of Qur'anic passages and pious invocations, which functioned as expressions of piety, as powerful defenses in the form of talismans, or simply as visually pleasing ornament.


Mughal Empire (1500s, 1600s)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam...re_1.shtml

Quote:
Introduction:The Mughal Empire. The Mughal (or Mogul) Empire ruled most of India and Pakistan in the 16th and 17th centuries. It consolidated Islam in South Asia, and spread Muslim (and particularly Persian) arts and culture as well as the faith. The Mughals were Muslims who ruled a country with a large Hindu majority. However for much of their empire they allowed Hindus to reach senior government or military positions.


Human and Animal imagery in Islamic art?
http://ask.metafilter.com/24573/Human-and-Ani...slamic-art


Well, I study theology and among other courses, I had "Modern understanding of Islam and Kuran" and it was told to us Islamic law does not allow human or animal images for decoration. But as I said, what was really practiced is another story...
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S Ghajar




Location: Fort Collins
Joined: 14 Jun 2013

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 16 Jul, 2013 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The flag of the Persian kings, including that of my own ancestors, featured a lion. Animal decorations abound all over Iranian art since before Islam, and this trend wasn't changed much since the Arab invasions.

Wahhabi and Salafi Islam don't allow those things. Iran has never ascribed to those sects. Islam is about as homogenous as Christianity (meaning, not at all). For example, some schools of jurisprudence allow the consumption of any seafood, some permit some shellfish and not others, and some permit nothing that doesn't have a spine and belong to a species of fish. Some consider kosher slaughter to be proximate enough to be permissible for consumption, some don't. Some believe in predestination, others believe in free will. Et cetera ad infinitum. It's not really something one can say "Islam does this" about on most anything, excepting the Shahada and the Hajj. Even the method and timing of prayers differs sect to sect.

As for the helmet, my guess would also be 19th or 20th centuries. More high-definition photographs would be helpful to narrow that down.

"This skill," asked Kazan, "is it the horse's or the man's?" "The man's, lord," they said. "No! If the horse did not play its part the man could not vaunt himself; the skill belongs to the horse."
Kitabi Dede Korkut
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Tue 16 Jul, 2013 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:

Well, I study theology and among other courses, I had "Modern understanding of Islam and Kuran" and it was told to us Islamic law does not allow human or animal images for decoration. But as I said, what was really practiced is another story...
How true, that goes for the followers of most beliefs I think.
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Cliff Peiffer




Location: Australia
Joined: 13 Jul 2013

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 17 Jul, 2013 10:46 pm    Post subject: Thank you         Reply with quote

Thank you to everyone who responded to my questions, this is very much appreciated and of course most valuable. Again thank you and hopefully I might seek your advice again. In the meantime are any of you aware of a "genuine" old Indo Persian Helmet? Regards Cliff
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Thu 18 Jul, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some 16-17thc Safavid armor pieces I've photographed:
http://www.forensicfashion.com/1587SafavidKnightArmor.html


http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 2:35 am    Post subject: Re: Thank you         Reply with quote

Cliff Peiffer wrote:
Thank you to everyone who responded to my questions, this is very much appreciated and of course most valuable. Again thank you and hopefully I might seek your advice again. In the meantime are any of you aware of a "genuine" old Indo Persian Helmet? Regards Cliff
Cliff, I think you have to be more specific, are you looking just for an example like from the late 1800s or for one from a time period were it could have been used in battle. Both could be considered as "genuine", one would be much harder to find and much more expensive than the other.
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 12:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An example of animals being depicted on a Persian tabar (axe), 18th century, with scenes of engraved birds and animals.

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